Learning/Education, montessori, toy rotation

Waldorf and Montessori Inspired Playroom Shelves

Mom. Wife. Life. shares 8 toys and materials that she includes in her triplets' Montessori & Waldorf-inspired playroom this week. | #montessori #waldorf #playroom #toddlers #triplets

John & I have had many, many conversations on what to do for our triplets when it comes to preschool. I researched several area schools and the cost for three kiddos to go to preschool ranges from about $750 to $1200 per month, depending on the program. We live in the Chicago suburbs and I know some areas are cheaper but it’s pricey here!! We’ve decided to have the triplets stay home with me for preschool & I’ll homeschool. I taught K-2 special ed the three years before they were born (& 4 years of high school special ed life skills before that). That experience & my education should make me capable to prepare them for kindergarten. I sure hope so anyway!!

I plan to start with preschool come August/September 2019. I’ve been reading a bunch about Montessori, home school styles, and scouring Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts for inspiration. After all of the research I’m starting to feel like my homeschool style will come out to be a mix of Montessori & Waldorf with a touch of school-at-home. I’m really excited to pour some time and energy back into education & to have my kids benefit from the efforts. Being a teacher was my career, but it was also my hobby, so I’m ready to get back to it!!Montessori and Waldorf inspired cube shelf in playroom with various materials

So with that said, I’m shaping my direction for my toy rotations to be more in-line with Montessori & Waldorf philosophies. Check out my most recent rotation for the week!

fine motor teddy bear puzzle


Handwork includes fine motor, so I’ve set them up with this fine motor puzzle. I am working with what we have for right now, so I have to say that this is not exactly Montessori because it doesn’t isolate a skill: they are completing a puzzle AND working on fine motor tasks. However, they do still enjoy the puzzle, particularly the buckle and zipper.

toy drum and drum stick


The kids have been absolutely obsessed with drumming lately. They want to drum with their silverware and any stick-like toy they can find. So in keeping with following the child, I decided to offer them a drum and drumstick. I found this little drum in the Target Bullseye’s Playground last week! The drum stick is something we already had.

fire place toy set in green basketcampfire toy set in green basket

Dramatic Play I

This adorable campfire set was another great Target Bullseye’s Playground find! The smores set was actually from last summer, but they have a similar one out right now. I got the campfire set with the burger, bread and hot dog last week. This set is let Montessori, and more Waldorf-inspired. I love watching Isla (it’s one of her favorites) take this set into their tepee and set up her fire and snack on her pretend smores that she’s cooked up. She loves to share her “tasty treats” too!

wooden toy cookie set from melissa and doug

Dramatic Play II

The triplets are all very imaginative and I want to foster that. In the Montessori philosophy, most pretend play is out and replaced with the actual activity, so with this set, I’d really be more in line with Montessori to have the triplets learning to bake actual cookies. However, this is just really not where we are right now & the logistics of doing that with triplet two year olds and two month old is just not something I can tackle right now. So, I’m presently loving this Melissa and Doug cookie set! They triplets love them and have a great time “cooking” up treats for me while I feed Max. Story telling and dramatic play is more inline with Waldorf which is why I’m feeling inspired by both philosophies as I plan for the triplets’ toys/materials and their homeschool this fall.

fullsizerender_ezy watermark_27-05-2019_02-55-14pmSensorial

I really like this puzzle because it teaches both animal sounds and the realistic image of each animal. It’s fun to see the kids use these materials in different ways too. Today Isla took the cat piece and was creating a little scene with it, complete with plenty of “meows!” I’m actually completely fine with this too, even if that’s not inline with some of these philosophies. I think it’s so important to know when you implement any parenting style or educational method, that it’s OK to do what works for your family & you don’t have to be 100% all-in! You don’t want to go too fast, burn out, or trying to make something fit that isn’t working. Being discerning is so important too!

sandpaper uppercase letters in basket


In traditional Montessori classrooms you’ll find a set of cursive sandpaper letters. These are similar, but are printed, rather than cursive. These tactile letters actually came from my own special ed. classroom. I frequently taught using Orton-Gillingham which using a multi-sensory approach to learning to read and spell. I actually use these in some of my tutoring sessions at home too. This set came from a school supply company, but here is a similar set that is available on Amazon Prime. These are a favorite activity for Thomas. He’s learned a few letter names and enjoys saying them; tracing them is fun for him too!

red 5 column board with counting cubes montessorired 5 column board with magnetic numbers and counting cubes montessori


I set this up to be an introductory activity for counting. Right now, it requires me to sit with them and model. This is totally fine! I like that they are learning the concept of numbers and one-to-one correspondence through play. This was sort of a DIY activity. The cubes are from Dollar Tree, the board & magnets are from two different sets in Bulleye’s Playground last year, and the basket was from my classroom. I’m not even totally positive were I bought that from!

felt Popsicle and Popsicle sticks for color matching montessorifelt Popsicle and Popsicle sticks for color matching montessori


These popsicles are another great…you guessed it…Target find! Seriously, that Bullseye’s Playground is my jam. I purchased this last year with the intention to use in my VIPKID tutoring. I do use them quite a bit for my classes, but I’m still on maternity leave right now so I decided to use this for the triplets this week. They really been enjoying it and surprised me with how well they can match colors.

And here’s a little bonus picture of our oldest triplet, T, holding his little brother Max!

toddler boy and baby brother

Mom. Wife. Life. shares 8 toys and materials that she includes in her triplets' Montessori & Waldorf-inspired playroom this week. | #montessori #waldorf #playroom #toddlers #triplets

toy rotation

Montessori Shelf at 9 Weeks Old

pinterest image of a 4 cube montessori shelf

Infant Stimulation Cards

I follow an Instagram account called CanDo Kiddo that shares great play and learning ideas for young kids. The other day she shared a picture of her showing a baby some black and white images. I read her blog post on high contrast toys for babies. She shared some great ideas plus a link to 12 simple black and white image cards. I printed the image cards, cut them up with my paper cutter, and laminated them with my personal laminator. I placed them in a small tray on his shelf and we’ve been rotating through them while he does tummy time. He coos and smiles are these cards and it is SO cute!

black and white visual stimulation images in basket

Teether Mitten

I Max is loving sucking on his hand and fingers this week. I decided to rotate in this Itzy Ritzy teether mitten this week. He isn’t super interested in putting the rubber teether in his mouth like I expected but he does enjoy looking at the contrast on the mitten. This will be one I’ll rotate in and out more often.

itzy ritzy pineapple teether mitten in yellow

Colored Links

My dad just built Max a beautiful wooden toy bar so I rotated in his colored links this week. This introduces some colors to Max and can link them on the toy bar for him to look at and bat at. I have also been laying them on the floor while he does tummy time on a boppy so he can look at them. He’s getting so curious about the small parts that I lay out for him!

basket with 5 colorful baby link toys

Taggies Blanket

This was a favorite blanket of the triplets as they grew and played. They loved the taggies blankie. I decided to introduce this one to Max a little earlier for the sensory experience that the microfiber and tags offer. This is for putting under, or on, his tummy or cheek during supervised tummy time or while lying on his back.

folder green and polka dot taggies blanket

Bonus: Munari Inspired Mobile

I read about the Montessori Mobiles on a great Montessori blog, Living Montessori Now. I’m a little late to introduce the Munari (or Munari inspired) mobile, but I don’t mind because Max is absolutely loving this. He can lay and watch this mobile move while cooing and wiggling around for 15-20 minutes without breaking concentration. It’s amazing to see how enamored he is with it! I’m currently working on a Gobbi mobile for him too. These DIY mobiles are so much more time consuming to make than they seem like they would be!

baby viewing a munari mobile

Mom. Wife. Life. shares her 9 week old son's Montessori shelf in his nursery. | #montessori #9weeksold #baby #infant #newborn #invitationtoplay

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